Should you start introducing your baby to solid foods at 6 months? What foods do you start with? What if your baby starts choking? Is it best to feed organic? Introducing your baby to solids is a really exciting transition but it can also be a little overwhelming. Luckily, you are not alone. We’ve listened to your questions and wrote the solids food guide (literally!) to answer them all, once and for all.
Here you’ll find the what, when, why and how on feeding your baby their first solid foods. Hopefully, it will also help up your confidence as you embark on this journey. Remember this is just a guide and when it comes down to it, every child is different. No one knows your baby better than you do, so you should only do what you (and your baby!) are comfortable with.
First things first, when should you start introducing solids?
This is one question that has long been debated. According to the World Health Organization, you should be starting your baby on solid foods at about 6 months. This is the age when a baby’s mouth, stomach and intestines are mature enough to cope with foods other than milk.
That’s not to say that some babies might be ready to give solid foods a go before that. Like we said, every baby is different and they may start dropping cues that they’re ready to bring on the solids. However, it won’t be for the reason a lot of parents think it is: hunger. Interestingly enough, babies don’t register that eating more will help them reduce hunger until later on. In fact, babies should continue feeding on breast milk (or store-bought formula) as their primary source of nourishment until they reach the one year mark.
So, when is your baby ready for solid foods?
Since babies can’t tell you themselves, the next best thing is to pay attention to their body movements and cues.
Your baby may be ready to start solids if:
• They can sit up without support, and have good control of their neck muscles
• They start to show interest in foods others are eating
• They open their mouth when they see food
Want to pick up on even more cues? Read more in our free solid food guide here.
What should be your baby’s first food?
Again, there are many opinions on the subject, but a good rule of thumb is to stick to foods made with simple ingredients. Look for easily digestible cereals that can be mixed with breast milk or formula to ease the transition (like our Baby’s First Oats + Chia cereal). Not only are they subtle enough for babies’ sensitive taste buds, they’re packed with iron – one of the most important nutrients needed for growing babies.
In terms of what types of foods you should feed your baby, look to the food guide. Stick to whole grains, rice and whole wheat pastas in the grain category. For fruits and vegetables, go for pureed cooked options or try one of our super-convenient Superblend Purees. For protein and iron, go for cooked meat, fish, chicken, beans, eggs and tofu – or try one of our Savoury Baby Meal Purees.
What foods should my baby stay away from for now?
1. Foods with added salt or sugar
These are two things that can seriously mess with your baby’s digestion. Be sure to read the labels on any products you introduce to make sure they’re free (this includes juices and any other liquids).
Babies shouldn’t try honey until they are at least a year old, as there is a risk of infant botulism.
3. Cow’s milk
Doesn’t provide the proper nutrients for the body so it shouldn’t replace the breast or formula until after year one.
4. Hard, raw veggies or fruit
Really anything that can present a choking hazard. Once your baby gets used to cereals and pureed fruits and veggies, you should be able to introduce hard solids by cutting them into tiny pieces.
5. Unpasteurized cheese
Presents a slight food poisoning risk in babies under the age of one.
If I have food allergies, will my baby have them?
Another thing that comes up a lot when discussing first foods is allergies, as in “If I have them, will my baby have them?” Good question. If you have a history of allergies it would be a good idea to talk to your general practitioner. However, Canadian experts do NOT recommend waiting to introduce any foods in the hopes it will prevent allergies. A good thing to do is introduce common allergens (ie. peanut butter, eggs, fish, wheat, soy) one at a time to see if there is any reaction. If your baby does react, speak to your primary caregiver immediately for next steps. If your baby doesn’t react, you should continue feeding that food a few times a week to help maintain tolerance.
How exactly should I transition to solids with my baby?
Between the ages of 9 – 18 months, babies transition from getting all the nutrients they need from breast milk or formula to getting their nutrients through solids. This journey is different for everyone so it’s important to be patient and trust that the weaning will happen when you and your baby are ready. Another good thing to remember is that they won’t like everything so don’t be hard on yourself if there’s something they don’t like.
Here’s six more tips to help start the transition to starting solids:
- Start with one food at a time using very small spoonfuls
- Choose one time a day when your baby is the most hungry and the least cuddly. From that day forward, make that the solid-food time everyday.
- Expect a bit of a fuss as your baby gets used to having solids over the regular breast milk or formula.
- Once your baby is comfortable with one feeding time a day, increase it to two times a day.
- Again, when your baby is comfortable with two times a day, increase it to three.
- Expect hiccups and be aware that there may be times your baby wants milk instead, like when they are under the weather or teething.
Yes, there’s even more to know when introducing your child to solids
No matter how you go about it, transitioning your baby to solids can be tricky at times. There are a lot of other things to consider beyond what we discussed here. Things like picky eating, what to do if your child starts choking, introducing superfoods and organics, and advice on what other great products you can feed your child at every stage of development. To answer these questions and more, refer to our handy Parent’s Guide to Introducing Solids and keep it close by. Remember, we’re all in this together!
World Health Organization. (2002, April 16). Infant and young children nutrition: global strategy on infant and young child feeding. Retrieved from http://apps.who.int/gb/archive/pdf_files/WHA55/ea5515.pdf?ua=1, Geneva.
Canadian Paediatric Society. (2019, January 1). Feeding your baby in the first year. Retrieved from https://www.caringforkids.cps.ca/handouts/feeding_your_baby_in_the_first_year, Canada.
Community Practitioner. (June 2011) Baby-led weaning: transitioning to solid foods at the baby’s own pace. Retrieved from https://search.proquest.com/openview/bcd820fafb3777b5385157d829ffe898/1?pq-origsite=gscholar&cbl=47216, USA
Canadian Paediatric Society. (2019, January 24). Timing of introduction of allergenic solids for infants at high risk. Retrieved from
Oxford Academic. (1996, November). Strategies for the prevention of iron deficiency: Iron in infant formulas and baby foods. Retrieved from https://academic.oup.com/nutritionreviews/article-abstract/54/11/348/1853471, USA